Mindful Exercise (A Self-care Tip)

Have you ever tried to exercise after not exercising for a while?

I was 21 when I first went to the academy – I did not know what to expect. I quickly learned the part I hated most about the training: the daily rigorous exercise, PT (physical training). I dreaded running and would get anxiety, nausea and what I would call fear, just thinking about the length of the run. As time went on the exercise became easier and by the end of the academy I grew to love morning PT.

Exercise can be challenging and will cause us to grow; we may not like it, but the growth is worth fighting for. There are so many benefits to exercise, many we do not even realize.

Exercise helps improve our physical health, adds years to our lives, improves our memory and increases our self-esteem and emotional well-being. Exercise can alleviate anxiety, depression, obesity and stress.

After the academy, I missed daily PT and decided to add exercise to my home life. I didn’t treat it like a chore like how it felt in the beginning of the academy – I became one with the workout. Regardless of the exercise – walking running, dancing, or swimming – when exercising, I began to practice mindfulness, staying in the moment.

How can we stay in the moment while exercising?

How can we practice mindful exercise?

For me, when running, I try to focus on the wind brushing my cheeks, my foot’s impact on the ground, the pace of my breathing, my chest rising and falling and the sound of the birds and rustling of the leaves in the trees. Overtime I noticed how tightly linked our mind and body really are.

When my body feels good, my mind feels awesome.

With exercise, we have the ability to take our mind off of everyday stressors and can break through the cycle of negative thoughts. Exercise is the body’s natural way of relieving stress; it boosts our self-esteem while simultaneously reducing anxiety and poor mood. When we exercise, our brain releases feel-good chemicals also known as endorphins throughout the body.

Exercise directly effects the brain and delivers oxygen and nutrients to it allowing us to think clearly and concentrate better. When we are on our A game in self-care, we can effectively care for others.

The first week of July we discussed how important sleep is if we are to take care of others, well, exercise allows us to fall asleep faster and improve the quality of our sleep. However, it’s important I note that we must stop exercising at least three hours before going to bed or it can cause us to be too alert. Exercise increases our energy.

Exercise does not have to be strenuous; you do not have to spend hours in the gym. Walking, swimming, house chores and yard work can all cause our body to release those feel good chemicals. Finding an exercise you enjoy is more important than keeping up with the idea of what exercise should be. When you do something, you enjoy it’s easier to fit it in your schedule and to stick with it.

So, take 15-20 minutes of your time to connect with yourself and nature.

Go for a walk. Shoot some hoops. Dance in your living room like no one is watching.

Get your kids involved, make it a family affair.

It’s adding years to your life.

I love you.

It’s time to rise!